Thursday, October 28, 2021

The Moors in Florida and Pennsylvania

On Thursday, October 28, 2021 at 12:30 am by M. in    No comments
A couple of student productions of  Jen Silverman's The Moors are being performed in FL and PA:
By Jen Silverman
Directed by Cynthia Totten
Eckerd College Theatre Department
Bininger Center for Performing Arts, St Petersburg, FL

October 27-29 @ 7:30 p.m.
October 30 @ 2 p.m.

Two sisters and a dog live out their lives on the bleak English moors, dreaming of love and power. The arrival of a hapless governess and a moorhen set all three on a strange and dangerous path. The Moors is a dark comedy about love, desperation, and visibility. A wild riff on the Bronte sisters and the Gothic romance genre. Includes violence and wicked humor.
Further information: The Online Current.
By Jen Silverman

York College's Theater
Waldner Performing Arts Center, York, PA

October 28-29 @ 7 p.m.
October 30 @ 3 p.m.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 10:42 am by Cristina in , , , , ,    No comments
HRH Prince of Wales has written a piece for the Daily Mail inviting people to 'fight to keep the £15m jewels of our literary crown in Britain', ie the Honresfeld Collection.
This is why, as patron of the Friends of the National Libraries, I recognise the critical importance of their noble campaign to ensure that some of the most precious manuscripts associated with our greatest authors are kept in this country rather than being dispersed abroad.
Just as the drawings and sketches of great painters provide the code to understanding the creative process of an artist such as Titian or Leonardo da Vinci, the manuscripts of a writer are the key to the route by which the author found his or her way to the words which then form part of our collective memory.
In this particular regard, the Honresfield Library is one of the great hidden treasure troves of 19th-century literature, and now that its contents have become available for sale, the Friends of the National Libraries are determined that these manuscripts should remain in the country in which they were formed, and whose culture these works went on to form in their turn.
The jewels in this collection are the manuscripts of Sir Walter Scott with The Lay of the Last Minstrel, together with poems by Robert Burns in his own hand – containing some of his earliest recorded literary works known as the First Commonplace Book – and, of course, the notebooks of Charlotte Brontë.
For anyone who has ever been moved by the words of these incomparable artists, the idea of reading these manuscripts is thrilling beyond words. 
For the same reason, the idea of them being lost to this country is too awful to contemplate. [...]
The campaign to raise £15million to buy this collection is one which benefits the whole United Kingdom, as the Friends have brought together a consortium of libraries from Leeds, Edinburgh, Hampshire, London and beyond.
I know that I share with so many people in this country a love of the literature that is so much a part of our personal and collective histories.
In giving us words to describe our human experience in all its complexity, literature has, truly, helped make us what we are.
In saving these priceless manuscripts for the public, we have the opportunity to ensure that these invaluable records of works of genius will remain in the land where they were created, and where they belong.
The Brontë Society's fundraising of £25,000 is currently at 55% with only until the end of October to reach the target so please do donate towards that if you can.

Last week, Friends of the National Libraries reported that,
We have raised £7.5m, half way to our target! Please do help us make it to the total so that we can save Honresfield Library for the nation.
Nerdist recommends Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood as one of '10 Contemporary Witchy Reads for a Magical Spooky Season'.
The haunting gothic of Jane Eyre gets transported to the vast deserts of Ethiopia in this stunning horror tale inspired by Charlotte Brönte’s classic novel. Blackwood does a great job building out her own lore, impressive magic system, and more here. Andromeda is an exorcist who is hired by Magnus Rochester to cleanse his home. But this is a job like no other, and as she enters she realizes she might never leave. An inventive, original, and legitimately scary debut, this is a must for fans of witchcraft, horror, and romance. (Rosie Knight)
While Book Riot recommends '10 Spooky Romance Novels For The Thrills', including
The Wife in the Attic by Rose Lerner
Gothic stories are always spooky. Especially Jane Eyre retellings.
Penniless Deborah just became the new governess of Goldengrove Manor. Her charge is nice, her employer is dashing, and the Lady of the house is ill. Soon, Deborah starts craving more and more, like becoming Sir Kit’s companion. But there is also something happening in the house and she is ready to find out. (Silvana Reyes Lopez)
Elle (France) asks bookish questions to singer/songwriter Clara Ysé.
ELLE. Quelle lectrice êtes-vous ?
C.Y. Enfant, j'aimais « Le Petit Prince », « Narnia », puis vers 10 ans, « Les Hauts de Hurlevent » ou « Jane Eyre » des sœurs Brontë. Mes parents faisaient beaucoup la fête, et je demandais aux invités, pour m'endormir, de me raconter une histoire qu'ils devaient inventer. J'aimais l'idée que ce récit n'appartenait qu'à cette nuit-là. Jusqu'à la fin de l'adolescence, j'étais une lectrice compulsive. Depuis, il y a des moments où je lis énormément, d'autres où la musique prend le dessus. (Florence Tredez) (Translation)
'“The Strangest Sense of Freedom.” On Jane Eyre and the Power of Narcissism' on LitHub.
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
Dear Reader is a new Jane Eyre podcast published on The Fire and Water Podcast Network:
In this inaugural first episode, I look at the source material Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Why do I love it so? Why do people despise it? Why does it endure? I answer these questions before diving into a plot synopsis and giving historical context to the novel. I then examine the Classical trope of “dutiful wife vs sorceress,” three varied types of Christians, Jane’s heroine’s journey, and more!
In the second half of the episode, I speak with licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. Renae Lapin about the men in Jane’s life and her relationships with them.

Dear Reader 01: The OG Jane Eyre

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 10:31 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
The New Yorker wonders whether Amazon may be changing the novel, but of course if they were, it wouldn't be something new as Victorian triple-deckers were also a creation of the industry not of the writers themselves, who simply had to adapt to that format.
As luxury items, unaffordable for outright purchase by most readers, triple-deckers were championed by Mudie’s Select Library, a behemoth of British book distribution. For its founder, Charles Edward Mudie, who often bought the bulk of a print run and could demand commensurate discounts from publishers, the appeal was plain: since his subscribers—at least those paying the standard rate of a guinea a year—could borrow only one volume at a time, each triple-decker could circulate to three times as many subscribers. Publishers were equally fond of the form, which allowed them to stagger printing costs. A tantalizing first volume could drum up demand for subsequent volumes, and help pay for them.\n\nA great many of the Victorian novel’s distinctive features seem expressly designed to fill up that “interminable desert” and entice the reader to cross it: a three-act structure, swelling subplots and vast casts, jolting cliffhangers, and characters with catchphrases or names that signal their personalities, rendering them memorable across nine hundred pages. (Dickens’s naming a bounder Bounderby, in “Hard Times,” is one shameless example.) Fictional autobiographies and biographies—“Villette,” “Jane Eyre,” “Adam Bede”—worked well with the demands of the triple-decker; a life story could enfold any necessary digressions and impart to them a sense of narrative unit. (Parul Sehgal)
The New York Times recommends 'eight knuckle-biting, nerve-ripping new tales, just in time for Halloween'. 
Caitlin Starling’s The Death of Jane Lawrence (St. Martin’s, 362 pp., $27.99) is a jewel box of a Gothic novel, one filled with ghosts and sorcery, great stores of romance, medical curiosities and so much galloping about in carriages that there is hardly a moment to catch your breath.
Jane Shoringfield needs a husband, and Dr. Augustine Lawrence fits her purposes to a T. But what begins as a marriage of convenience transforms into a love affair that pulls her into Augustine’s past. The problems begin on their wedding night. Although they had decided that Jane would never sleep at Augustine’s crumbling manor, Lindridge Hall, that agreement is broken when a storm hits, stranding Jane, and revealing Augustine to be a very different man than she had believed.
Half of the pleasure of Starling’s novel is the world she’s constructed. Set in an alternate postwar England of crumbling manors, bloody surgical theaters and hidden crypts, it would be easy to sink into the delicious gloom. But there is too much happening to get comfortable: Jane proves herself as persistent as Jane Eyre in overcoming an ill-fated marriage. And while Augustine’s past is more than she bargained for, she shows she is his equal in love and magic. (Danielle Trussoni)
Times of India shares an excerpt from Melissa Febos's latest essay collection Girlhood:
We are all unreliable narrators of our own motives. And feeling something neither proves nor disproves its existence. Conscious feelings are no accurate map to the psychic imprint of our experiences; they are the messy catalog of emotions once and twice and thrice removed, often the symptoms of what we won’t let ourselves feel. They are not Jane Eyre’s locked-away Bertha Mason, but her cries that leak through the floorboards, the fire she sets while we sleep and the wet nightgown of its quenching.
Woman (Spain) talks to writer Mariana Enríquez.
Siempre fui una fan del género, el gótico, el terror, todo. Pero para escribirlo, yo pensaba que viviendo en América Latina, con mis experiencias, no podía hacer un novelón a la Brontë, ni relatos tipo Lovecraft. [...]
Me parece que avanzar en eso es solo una cuestión de tiempo. A mí misma me costó antes de empezar a escribir narradoras mujeres, cuando empecé a escribir los cuentos. Al final todos son mujeres y creo que no son para nada arquetípicas. Yo pensé que por la cuestión esencial de tener la experiencia de serlo, yo podía escribir una narradora mujer, pero me di cuenta que no. Estamos muy acostumbrados a leer narradores hombres. No solamente los crean los escritores hombres. Puedes leer a Patricia Highsmith, por ejemplo, y casi sus personajes principales son varones. También me pasa con Iris Murdoch. Es natural, porque claro, ellas crecieron leyendo a narradores varones. Es lo primero que te sale hacer, lo más fácil, digamos. Algo narrado por una mujer que era muy raro. Las Brontë lo hicieron porque eran unas locas tremendas, quiero decir, que eran muy arriesgadas. (Paka Díaz) (Translation)
Elle uses a quote from Villette to describe “Sense of Blue,” an interactive installation by digital artist Maotik made in collaboration with skincare brand La Prairie, which was revealed at Art Basel in Switzerland last month.
"The cool peace and dewy sweetness of the night filled me with a mood of hope,” Charlotte Brontë wrote in her 1853 novel Villette. “Not hope on any definite point, but a general sense of encouragement and heart-ease.”
“Heart-ease” is exactly the feeling conjured by “Sense of Blue,” an interactive installation by digital artist Maotik made in collaboration with skincare brand La Prairie, which was revealed at Art Basel in Switzerland last month. Observers were invited into a pitch-black room illuminated only by a giant cobalt blue sphere of light, as the sounds of crickets and other nocturnal species engulfed you. The installation responded to the movement of people in the room, cycling through the many phases of night: dusk, evening, and deepest night. The result was an interactive environment that inspired serenity and calm, projecting an almost womb-like feeling of peace.
The Times Daily Quiz includes the question:
Dante Gabriel Rossetti described which 1847 novel as “A fiend of a book — an incredible monster”?
Wuthering Heights (Olav Bjortomt)
According to Mashable, Jane Eyre (2011?) will be back on Amazon Prime starting November 1st. Mujer Hoy (Spain) wonders about the fascination of literary boarding schools and mentions Jane Eyre in connection to them. The Sisters' Room takes a look at Brontë mentions on TV shows.
We have talked about this new Jane Eyre retelling several times:

Within These Wicked Walls
Lauren Blackwood
Wednesday Books (MacMillan Publishers)
ISBN:  9781250787101
October 2021

Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. She would be hired, that is, if her mentor hadn’t thrown her out before she could earn her license. Now her only hope of steady work is to find a Patron—a rich, well-connected individual who will vouch for her abilities.
When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, she takes the job without question. Never mind that he’s rude and demanding and eccentric, that the contract comes with a number of outlandish rules… and that almost a dozen debtera had quit before her. If Andromeda wants to earn a living, she has no choice.
But she quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, the reason every debtera before her quit. But leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option because—heaven help her—she’s fallen for him.
Stunningly romantic, Lauren Blackwood's heartstopping debut, Within These Wicked Walls, ushers in an exciting new fantasy voice.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Monday, October 25, 2021 10:11 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
Musical Theatre Review gives Wise Children's Wuthering Heights 3 stars out of 5 disliking most of what others before have praised.
Patrons attending future productions – after Bristol, Wuthering Heights embarks on a major national tour until the end of May 2022 – might well be advised to arrive an hour late, thus missing the deafening opening, the early screech-a-thon approach to the dialogue, and choreography for the six-strong chorus of Moors (don’t ask) straight out of 1960s Top of the Pops. But once Heathcliff and Cathy have separately declared their love for each other in the first tender moments of the evening, the narrative emphasises the revenge motif in the second half with an agreeable reduction in volume. There are even welcome moments of comedy in the bizarre courtship between Little Linton (Katy Owen) and Young Cathy (Witney White).
Ian Ross’ score, played on stage by musicians Sid Goldsmith, Nadine Lee and Renell Shaw, also discovers an occasional gentler note as it moves away from the earlier unimaginative, pounding rock.
Rice’s take-no-prisoners approach to the ill-fated love affair, and the subsequent family entanglements, may be on an entirely different plane from famous film and television versions of the past, but alongside sound and video designer Simon Baker she does provide some unsettling visual tricks as well as a hint or two of pertinence for today.
At heart, though, Wuthering Heights remains the story of Liverpool docks orphan Heathcliff and spirited heroine Cathy, torn apart by the mental and physical cruelty of those around them. Ash Hunter handles the vocal challenges as Heathcliff with aplomb, although he is a slightly more remote figure than usual. Lucy McCormick, in contrast, is never less than full on as Cathy, bellowing out her anger and frustrations at maximum volume, before drifting through the second half as Brontë’s symbolic ghost-at-the-window apparition.
You get the feeling, Kate Bush – of ‘Cathy Come Home’ vocal fame – would approve. (John Houseman)
Irish Examiner asks writer Michael Harding to speak about the culture that made him. And one of his choices is:
Wuthering Heights
The classic novel of all times is Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. It’s impossible for me to rationalise it as an all-time favourite choice (and I would go through periods where I’d have other favourite books). Possibly because it’s a love story. It’s gothic so it has that air of Dracula darkness. Also the love between the two of them, Catherine and Heathcliff, transcended human love. It's a monumental story.
The Conversation has an article on how 'Peatland folklore lent us will-o-the-wisps and jack-o-lanterns' and Wuthering Heights is also mentioned.
Northern European storytellers have often relied on peatland landscapes to capture a frightening or spooky mood or atmosphere, such as in English classic novels like Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights or Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles. Such tales drew on longer-standing oral and cultural traditions that looked to peatlands as liminal spaces, places that appealed to a sense of the uncanny and the supernatural. (Derek Gladwin)
The New Yorker interviews writer Fleur Jaeggy and they bring up a bit from her book The Water Statues.
In the first part of “The Water Statues,” Beeklam glimpses a man “dressed in dark clothes with a white band at the neck,” who “was walking in the garden, as though, after having named every single tree, he’d just let go of”—
“Emily Brontë’s arm.” (Dylan Byron)
Junkee sings the praises of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights and shares a grunge cover by TikTok user @boychikpea.
Of course, the crowning achievement of the Kate Bush canon is ‘Wuthering Heights’. A re-telling of the classic gothic fantasy by Emily Bronte, the song ripples with yearning, transforming a particular experience — loving someone who you’re not sure loves you in quite the same way — into something universal and triumphant. There’s a reason it’s been a mainstay of the radio and contemporary culture for decades now: there’s nothing quite like it.
As it turns out, the song is also highly adaptable. It’s been covered multiple times by an array of different artists from diverse backgrounds, but perhaps never as uniquely or as passionately as a new grunge cover of the song going around on TikTok. (Joseph Earp)
'Charlotte Brontë’s Love Of The French Language' on AnneBrontë.org. And finally, please remember that there are only a few days left to reach the goal to try and save the Honresfeld Collection. Please donate if you can afford it.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Travel devotes an entire article to Haworth, "Where The Famous Brontë Sisters Lived And Wrote Their Iconic Novels":
The picturesque village of Haworth in West Yorkshire may be small, but it boasts a very big history and is very significant in the literary world. This pretty British village is where the iconic Brontë sisters lived between 1820 and 1855 and wrote some of their most famous books that went on to rock the literary kingdom all around the globe.
Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë were the novelists of their time, writing many of their iconic works at the Parsonage in Haworth - which was transformed into the Brontë Parsonage Museum. But it's not just the Brontës and their famed books that attract worldwide visitors to this incredibly beautiful place - the village's quintessentially British attractions, rich culture and history, magnificent historic remnants, and stunning countryside all equally put Haworth on the map. (...)
Whether you're a book-lover or not, visiting the Brontë Parsonage Museum is an absolute must. Once home to the Brontë sisters and their father, Patrick Brontë - who was a priest at the Haworth Parish Church next door - this historical building was purchased by a local businessman in 1928 and donated to the Brontë Society who turned it into a wonderful museum that commemorates the family and their works. (...) (Lauren Feather)
Quentin Letts also reviews the Wise Children production of Wuthering Heights for The Sunday Times:
However, the reason this show works — and would work even better if Rice could shave 15 minutes off its three hours — is that the bleakness never overwhelms. In every detail, from Ian Ross’s haunting songs to the idiosyncrasies of performance from the likes of Katy Owen and Sam Archer, there is a spark. It is somehow there even in the moorland backdrops, ravens fluttering to mark the story’s flurry of deaths. Rice’s great talent is to bring hope to everything she touches. It’s the oldest gift in the world: humanity.
Epigram is a bit less enthusiastic: 
Injecting genuine comedy was an impressive feat led mostly by Katy Owen. Playing Isabella Linton, she mischievously embraced all the tropes of naive youth until one particularly poignant moment, in the aftermath of Heathcliff’s rape when she implored the audience not to forget her name. As Linton, she completely carried the otherwise weak second act.
All this production needed were some changes in tone. The lighting especially supported a continuously upbeat atmosphere. The story is dark, this show needed moments of darkness too. The moors are such an iconic feature of the Brontë’s work and it is wonderful to have that landscape take centre stage. There was an opportunity there to use the chorus to reinforce the sense of isolation and peril. Instead, through repetitive musical snippets, the chorus prevented much-needed moments of stillness and quiet. (Katie Chalk)

Weston Supermom also enjoyed the production very much. 

D1SoftBallNews reviews the latest film by Sion Sono, Prisoners of the Ghostland:
The dispossessed of Ghostland instead welcome him as a savior, with dances and declarations of resistance, led by a sort of preacher who reads “Wuthering Heights” aloud as if it were the Holy Scriptures. (Zach Shipman)
The Indian Express interviews the writer Alison MacLeod:
Neha Kirpal: You also teach contemporary fiction at the University of Chichester, England. Who are your biggest literary inspirations?
A.M.: The writers who shaped me include Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Robertson Davies, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Angela Carter and Lawrence.
You can check what the members of The Telegraph Book Club have to say about Wide Sargasso Sea:
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Rhys imagines the lives of Bertha Mason and her family in a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and our readers questioned her intentions for doing this. Slavery, entrapment and madness were the key themes assessed by our readers, as well as the significance of the settings in the novel. (Rachel Avery)
The Hindu and old books:
Then there were Tess of the D'urbervilles, Jane Eyre and my much loved school Mill on the Floss and the travails of their characters, their pages stained with ardent adolescent tears. (Sudha Nevi Nayak)
Free tattoos at the Liebfrauenkirche in Frankfurt, according to Frankfurter Neue Press (Germany):
Das Zitat auf ihrem Arm stammt aus dem Buch „Sturmhöhe“ vom Emily Brontë, das sie berührt hat. „Ich habe das Glück, meinen Seelenverwandten gefunden zu haben und möchte ihn für immer behalten“, sagt sie und drückt wieder die Hand ihres Freundes. (Sabine Schramek) (Translation)
RND (Germany) recommends the TV series The Deceived:
Und das ist nicht das Ende der Merkwürdigkeiten, die sich allmählich ins Mystische steigern. Nachts sieht Ophelia durch das Fenster Roisin im Garten stehen. Dann ist da noch das Klopfen im abgeschlossenen Nebenzimmer. Und seit „Jane Eyre“ weiß man, das solche Räume im britischen Kulturkreis nichts Gutes verheißen.  (Martin Schwickert) (Translation)
Infobae (in Spanish) explores the novels of Minae Mizumura, including A Real Novel:
La obra, protagonizada por tres mujeres, está inspirada en la historia de un joven huérfano japonés que la escritora conoció cuando su padre lo ayudó a ingresar a una empresa estadounidense en la que él trabajaba pero que tiempo después el joven abandonó, logrando un ascenso meteórico en otra firma. El libro también abreva en la lectura que desde los 10 años la escritora hizo de la novela Cumbres borrascosas, de Emily Brontë, a través de una colección de textos en japonés para niñas que llegaban a su hogar, y que de adulta leyó en inglés provocándole un impacto aún mayor, a tal punto que hoy la tiene como libro de cabecera. (Claudia Lorenzón) (Translation)

The Spanish press continues discovering that many (female) writers used pseudonyms in the past: infoNorte DigitalThe Yorkshire Examiner includes Old Registry in Haworth in a list of pubs that you can buy right now. The Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka) quotes Wuthering Heights in a nice column. Le Dauphiné (Switzerland) talks about the last screening of a 35 mm copy of Wuthering Heights 1939 a the Cinémathèque de Grenoble. A Paper Girl, A Paper Town reviews the Easy Classics Jane Eyre comic adaptation.

A steampunk revamping of Jane Eyre just published:
Public Works Steampunk Presents: Jane Eyre 
by R.A. Harding and Charlotte Brontë
ISBN 9781736356111
October 2021

Rediscover the classic story of Jane Eyre in a steampunk world, complete with zephyr-ships, clockwork, and autom
atons in addition to the original romance and mystery! As a child, Jane Eyre lives with her cold aunt and cruel cousins in the levitating manor Gateshead Hall but is soon sent to Lowood Institution, the austere boarding school for orphans across continents in India. Jane eventually journeys back to England, to take the job of governess at Thornfield Hall, a mysterious manor that floats in the air above a lake and harbors a dark and shrouded secret. This retelling retains all of the original passion and intrigue but winds it up to something much more.

Written by Charlotte Brontë and originally published in 1847, these steampunk additions were imagined and added by R.A Harding almost one hundred and seventy five-years later. This speaks to the enduring quality of the book and the unmitigated moxie of one of its fans.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Saturday, October 23, 2021 10:58 am by Cristina in , , , , , ,    No comments
Four stars out of five from The Guardian to Wise Children's
Wuthering Heights
Rice’s adaptation is characteristically meta in its display of artifice: the facade of Wuthering Heights is just that, a flat moved around by backstage staff (set design by Vicki Mortimer). The Yorkshire moors are human – fittingly for a story in which they are such an animate feature – and appear as a Greek chorus led by Nandi Bhebhe, fresh from Rice’s Bagdad Cafe, who wears shrubbery in her hair and is marvellously arch.
In childhood, Heathcliff, Cathy and Hindley are puppets. Lucy McCormick then plays Cathy as a knotty-haired rebel in Doc Martens who twitches, growls and laughs manically. She breaks into “rock chick” mode at one point with a mic and wind machine, part singing, part yodelling, while the live band (Sid Goldsmith, Nadine Lee and Renell Shaw) creates heavy metal sounds.
Lockwood (Sam Archer) is a posh southerner in wellies, while Isabella (Katy Owen) and Edgar Linton (Archer, doubling up), from the well-to-do Thrushcross Grange, are dressed in foppish outfits and twizzle around their living room as if their life is one long ball, with Isabella speaking fabulous lines like: “Sometimes I like to slide down the banister because it tickles my tuppence.”
Owen also plays young Linton (Heathcliff’s son by Isabella), who is the incarnation of Walter the Softy from the Beano. She is a standout comic force in both roles along with Tama Phethean, who plays Hindley and Hareton with a mix of physical comedy, pathos and kookiness.
It all seems ingenious and faintly ridiculous, like a postmodern literary satire or an especially outré episode of Inside No 9 and risks having nowhere to go beyond tripping one-liners and theatrical navel-gazing. But it builds its world, albeit a conspicuously artificial one, and holds us in it with an intensity of its own, and there is beauty, with the vast backdrop of sky changing from black cloud to haze and then to soft, bouncing blue.
Some innovations feel sacrilegious; the all-consuming love between Cathy and Heathcliff – the beating heart of Brontë’s novel – is neutered here and when Cathy says “Heathcliff is more myself than I am”, it does not seem powered by passion but theatricality.
Heathcliff (Ash Hunter) does not smoulder, but he does skulk and seems like the only character being played straight. He is emphatically an outsider, speaking with a Caribbean accent and told to “Go back where you came from” by Hindley, his words carrying all their modern-day connotations. He grows more vicious too, and with this the drama manages to capture some of the dark energy of the book in its presentation of cruelty, grudge-bearing and beatings. Heathcliff’s physical and emotional abuses appear shocking and destructive, even in this landscape of whimsy.
Ultimately, the show succeeds because it is not just very funny, but both charming and intelligent in its humour. If this is unfaithful storytelling, it is exquisitely pulled off. (Arifa Akbar)
Four stars from iNews too:
Wuthering Heights is a difficult novel to adapt, though it has frequently been attempted. But Emma Rice’s punchy and very clever new stage version tackles Emily Brontë’s tempestuous, rambling story brilliantly.
It even manages to thread in a few good jokes about how confusing the original can be, with all those overlapping, hard-to-remember names and sudden jumps in time.
It is, however, the performances that really sell it. Lucy McCormick makes Cathy a wild child in the most straightforward way. Sulky and bedraggled long before she starts haunting the moors as a tormented zombie/ghost, she flies around in a semi-feral state.
She shows, most of all, Cathy’s self-destructive streak – constantly saying what she obviously doesn’t mean, and lashing out at Heathcliff each time she feels sad, bad or lonely. But she does so the way a nine-year-old would push the boy they liked into a lump of dog poo and then wonder why he didn’t like them any more.
There’s also genuine tenderness and chemistry between her and Ash Hunter’s Heathcliff, who often seems to be demonstrating extreme self-restraint towards the people around him, rather than the rashness and violence the character is known for. It adds up to a convincingly desperate and volatile love affair, one that was probably always destined to end badly.
Katy Owen is also superb – and extremely funny – as, firstly, the uber-prissy Isabella Linton and, later, the evil invalid Linton Heathcliff, a villainous Little Lord Fauntleroy figure wrapped up in satin bows and spewing out contempt.
But the real star of the piece, and the essence of Rice’s perceptive take on Wuthering Heights, is Nandi Bhebhe as The Moor, which here means the Yorkshire Moors.
Embodying the rugged landscape, she is a sort of ever-present mystical figure. Sometimes she assumes a maternal role as characters pour out their sorrows to her. At other times, she’s like a narrator, guide or witness.
It’s a seamless addition to the story which captures the force and wildness of the Brontë landscape, while also helping to steer us through this tragic story and how we’ve come to understand, or remember, the characters within it. (Rosemary Waugh)
Five stars from Bristol Post.
In their roles as Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, Lucy McCormick and Ash Hunter are fantastic and acting throughout the show in general is of a very high standard. The impressive singing was another highlight for me as music is used well throughout to add to the narrative.
As usual for shows at the Bristol Old Vic, the scenography was perfect. The stage was beautifully decorated and a great attention to detail could be seen throughout, from the costumes to the props. (Estel Farell Roig)
A positive review from Bristol 24/7 too:
Surfing on the wave of energy that pulsates through the auditorium, Catherine McCormick’s wide-eyed, wild-haired Catherine is an electrifying presence, arriving in her Vivienne Westwood heels and wailing into a microphone, vital, mesmeric and untouchable as a rock goddess.
“I am Heathcliff!,” she proclaims. “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” Perhaps she is emblematic of the trauma that inner turmoil can wreak; the self destruction that will unravel us when we cannot live with ourselves.
And so it proves – when she is forced apart from the kindred spirit she had found in Heathcliff, Catherine is consigned to haunting him from beyond the grave, a constant absent presence, stalking behind him throughout the second half. Heathcliff too, is caught in a paradox; like Roman Emperor Nero, he “cares too much, and yet cares not at all”.
Ash Hunter as Heathcliff is a magnetic force, commanding, volatile and unforgiving. For some, the romantic hero at the mercy of his own fate, and for others, an antagonist driven only by revenge; Rice deliberately blurs those lines and shows us the collective responsibility of revenge, as The Moor chorus repeatedly warns “be careful what you seed”.
The innovation and artistry woven into the production is Wise Children at its emotionally-charged best, and effectively mirrors the pathetic fallacy woven through Brontë’s novel. The seamless blend of puppetry, design, music and film, and Etta Murfitt’s choreography, is testament to the long-time collaborators working in pursuit of Rice’s artist vision. (Sarski Anderson)
If you buy tickets for the live broadcasts of 4-6 November, please consider doing so through the Brontë Society website so that the Brontë Parsonage Museum will receive a small percentage of ticket sales.

Stol (Italy) features Elke Heidenreich's book Hier geht's lang! Mit Büchern von Frauen durchs Leben about the invisibility of women writers.
Kennen Sie die Schriftsteller Currer, Acton und Ellis Bell? Vermutlich nicht. Dabei schufen sie Werke, die zu den größten der Weltliteratur gehören. Heute sind sie allerdings unter ihren wahren Namen bekannt: Charlotte, Emily und Anne Brontë. Zeitlebens veröffentlichten die Autorinnen ihre Werke wie „Sturmhöhe“ oder „Jane Eyre“ unter männlichen Pseudonymen. Denn Frauen, so erzählt es Elke Heidenreich in ihrem neuen Buch, kommen in der Literatur noch bis zur Romantik nur als unglückliche Geliebte vor, nicht als eigene Schöpferinnen von Literatur. Zwar habe es einige Schriftstellerinnen gegeben – diese mussten aber „unter demütigenden Umständen veröffentlichen“, etwa mit fiktiven männlichen Namen. (Translation)
Gazzetta di Parma (Italy) features Genesis' 1976 album Wind & Wuthering, reminding readers of the obvious inspiration behind: Wuthering Heights. It even has two instrumental tracks called "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers..." and "...In That Quiet Earth".

Pseudonyms are discussed in Expansión (Spain), El Colombiano (Colombia), Sopitas (Mexico), etc. Dark Academia basics (such as Wuthering Heights) on Khrono (Norway). There's a 'Haunting Halloween Giveaway' on which includes a copy of her John Eyre among other books. The podcast The Eyre Files is now live with a discussion of chapter 2 of the novel.

Finally, the Brontë Society fundraiser is stuck halfway to their goal of £25,000 to save the Honresfeld Collection, so please consider donating towards it if you can as there are only a few days left.
12:30 am by M. in    No comments
Creative Boom talks about a stamp collection created by We Are Dorothy to celebrate great literature:
Celebrating the most influential, widely read and essential books from the 17th Century through to the modern-day, there are two fresh prints to feast your eyes on, each containing 42 books reimagined as collectable postage stamps and making up an oversized sheet, as you might find if buying stamps in bulk at the Post Office. Each stamp features a graphic inspired by the book and the date of publication in book form. (...)
Celebrating the most influential, widely read and essential books from the 17th Century through to the modern-day, there are two fresh prints to feast your eyes on, each containing 42 books reimagined as collectable postage stamps and making up an oversized sheet, as you might find if buying stamps in bulk at the Post Office. Each stamp features a graphic inspired by the book and the date of publication in book form. (...)
The prints measure 80cm x 60cm and are litho printed with an additional silver foil. The two literature-based additions join an ever-expanding 'Stamp Collections' range of prints by Dorothy and are available to purchase for £35 each from from today.

Friday, October 22, 2021

We have several reviews of Wise Children's Wuthering Heights today. The Times gives it 5 stars:
Published in 1847, the year before she died, and set on the Brontë siblings’ beloved Yorkshire moors, the novel is commonly read in adolescence, when one’s sensibilities may be particularly susceptible to its intoxicating highs and lows.
The director Emma Rice
did just that, and Brontë’s book left a lasting mark on her. The latest production by her company Wise Children is her adaptation of it, and it’s a corker — superbly cast, delivered with gusto and evincing the kind of rough-hewn yet fluid and economical theatrical invention (including live music, dancing, puppetry) that enhances the story’s dark, grim grip and locates pockets of welcome humour within it. Lasting nearly three hours, this intensely absorbing show (a co-production with the Bristol Old Vic, the National Theatre and York Theatre Royal) deepens as it unfolds.
The performance commences with the crack of a whip and a mad cackle that together signal a storm. There is certainly no dearth of tempestuous feelings in the saga that follows as Rice and a 12-strong ensemble trace, with sometimes startling clarity, a legacy of elemental desire and monumental pain spanning two generations. Their take on the haunted bond between Cathy (played by the abrasively charismatic Lucy McCormick as a lifelong wild child) and the foundling Heathcliff (Ash Hunter, whose telling characterisation is like a resolutely unforgiving bruise) works as a compelling and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny romantic melodrama. Yet enjoyable as it is as a knowing period piece, Rice’s astute script and staging are also shot through with thorny, relevant ideas about gender, class and racial divides. [...]
Perhaps Rice’s most inspired decision was to have a handful of actors embody the moor itself. Led with warmth and generosity by Nandi Bhebhe, “The Moor” is chorus and narrator, helping us to keep track of who’s who in Brontë’s convoluted plot and acting for several characters as a sounding board.
And it is Brontë’s characters — abused or abusive, needy and conflicted — who count the most here. Plaudits to Sam Archer (agile and droll), Tama Phethean (brutish then pathetic), Witney White (vibrant) and especially Katy Owen (utterly delightful as Cathy’s hyper-silly sister-in-law and Heathcliff’s mewling male offspring) for making strong impressions in multiple roles. But then everyone involved is reaching for the heights in this emotionally epic entertainment. (Donald Hutera)
Daily Mail gives it 5 stars too.
A giggly, ungodly ragamuffin wanders on to the stage, opens a clothbound book and cracks a whip — expertly — breaking loose a hellish storm.
Once again, director Emma Rice has thrown away all the rulebooks and harnessed the beating heart and slippery soul of Emily Bronte's unwieldy gothic monster, Wuthering Heights, in a wildly imaginative, exhilarating piece of theatre.
Gone is the housekeeper narrator, Nelly. 
Instead an all-singing, all-dancing chorus sounds every note of the novel, raising it into the realms of Greek tragedy and making a magnificent character of the Yorkshire Moors — which stretch from the haunted, forbidding crags of Wuthering Heights to the sunlit pastures of Thrushcross Grange.
Led by Nandi Bhebhe, majestic in a crown of twigs, the Moors howl up a hurricane, warning: 'Be careful what you seed.' 
Lucy McCormick's compelling Catherine dominates the first half, torn between two lovers: the soulmate of Ash Hunter's brooding, untameable Heathcliff but drawn to the softness of pampered, pampering Edgar Linton (Sam Archer).
Words pour out of her until finally, as a Tina Turner-like rock goddess, she sings: 'I am earth, I am sky.'
The story emerges with remarkable clarity. Characters are introduced, their names chalked on slates which become gravestones on their deaths.
Rice finds comedy where there was none: a character arrives in a deerstalker, blown in by the storm, leaning at an acute angle to suggest the hurtling wind.
A skull with ears fixed on the blade of a scythe becomes a hilariously savage puppet hound. 
As Heathcliff's wife, Isabella, Katy Owen flits with elastic daintiness; as her son, she is reborn as the lisping sibling of Just William's Violet Elizabeth Bott.
Inevitably perhaps, with Catherine gone, the intensity slips in the second half, but with young Cathy finding happiness, Rice embraces sunshine and hope.
Just as the books fastened at the ends of bendy sticks conjure the quivering birds on the Moor, so Rice has given glorious dramatic wings to Wuthering Heights. (Patrick Marmion)
The Fix Magazine gives it 4 out of 5 stars.
Her interpretation of Emily Brontë’s novel of love, revenge, class and greed is no exception; this is a relentlessly entertaining piece, delivered with such brio that it easily masters a potentially onerous three hour running time.
The ingenuity of Rice’s presentation is clear from the moment Mr Lockwood, a new tenant at Thrushcross Grange, negotiates a windswept Yorkshire Moor and pays a visit to his landlord Heathcliff (Ash Hunter), who resides at the eponymous stately home. A large screen in the background depicts dark clouds and changing conditions, a live band provide a faultless and unremittingly moody sense of drama, a manoeuvrable set of doors brilliantly, and economically, denote the shifting between locations, and manipulated branches and sound effects nicely evoke the ferocity of the storm. [...]
Elsewhere, McCormick is fantastic as the increasingly unhinged and yearning Catherine. As well as a dynamic singing voice – the second act momentarily turns into a music gig as she belts out some Courtney Love style angsty rock – her manic, heavily kohl-eyed expressions convincingly depict her character’s descent into madness. Also, the live band are a performance highlight; Sid Goldsmith on guitar, Nadine Lane on drums and percussion and Renell Shaw on bass provide a soundtrack – one moment a subtle, simmering backdrop, the next a high-register production number – that never makes a false step. (Scott Hammond)
What'sOnStage is less enthusiastic, giving it 3 out of 5 stars.
It ticks off the classic Rice tropes that those of us who admire her have fallen for, puppetry, gender, and colour-blind casting, songs, some unexpected production choices. Yet it lacks the originality of her best works: the transcendence of A Midsummer Nights Dream, the unexpected chocolatey sweetness of Romantics Anonymous, the sheer love breaking beyond the buttoned-up society of Brief Encounter: here nothing takes you by surprise or throws a different perspective on the piece. Rice may be a victim of her success, doomed if she doesn't vault ever higher poles. For completists, it feels inessential. For those new to her work or wanting to watch a stage production that ticks off every narrative beat, this may read better.
What Rice does do very well is bring the elemental wildness of the novel to the stage. The love story of Heathcliff and Cathy, brought together by erotic force, broken apart by class and society is big on atmosphere and in act one particularly there are moments she is supported in this by Lucy McCormick's Cathy, bringing the wide-eyed edge of her Post Popular character to one of literature's most famous wild children. With her doe-eyes and unruly hair, she brings a sense of innocence and danger to all her stage work, and she plays it up to the hilt here, a girl lost in a world of love and eroticism slightly beyond her comprehension. When she grabs a microphone and wails like a banshee, wind machine throwing her hair back, we see the theatre that Rice at her best can produce. There just aren't enough of that here.
Brontë's novel is a tricky ask for actors, requiring them to age from childhood into middle age and adapt from fire to curdled middle-aged disappointment. Ash Hunter's Heathcliffe is thrilling in the first half, an orphan thrown into a class that he can't quite break into until spurned by love and family he returns a gentleman avenger. However, in the second half, he struggles to show the vulnerability beyond the ice-cold revenge, the man who "cares too much, and yet cares not at all." Whether it's Brontë's writing or the production as a whole, the second half of hauntings and a slight tinge of madness doesn't quite land. (Kris Hallett)
The Stage gives it 4 out of 5 stars:
The production doesn’t overlook the abusive nature of Heathcliff’s relationship with Cathy, persisting even after death with his insistence that she never rest – he essentially forces her to haunt him – but it shies away from the full horror of this, as if a little too susceptible to the romantic power of Emily Brontë’s novel.
Nor can the production fully counteract the novel’s imbalance, the hole that Cathy makes in the narrative after she expires, but it ultimately doesn’t matter. After the theatrical drought of the past year and a half, Rice’s particular brand of theatrical magic is incredibly welcome, like wine after a period of abstinence. (Natasha Tripney)
Offaly Express and other Irish news outlets feature Pauline Clooney's novel Charlotte and Arthur.
What was to become Charlotte and Arthur, the novel, started life as a PhD subject. But - following the guidance of her advisor to ‘get it out before someone else writes the story’, Pauline left the academic programme just before lockdown and turned her attention full-time to the novel. [...]
Pauline, whose mother is from Banagher, noted that the couple’s wedding and Irish honeymoon has received scant attention from biographers.
“We have six letters she wrote from Ireland, so using those six letters, and what Arthur wrote, I put an itinerary together of those trip,” she said.
The book imagines the honeymoon trip from Charlotte’s point of view, to reveal something about who she was. The author also juxtaposed the idea of the honeymooners taking a trip around the country, including Cork and Trinity College in Dublin, with the reality and poverty of post-Famine Ireland.
“They spent nearly a week in Banagher with his relatives,” said Pauline. She says that the work of Alan Adamson, a Canadian academic with links to that family, provided her with invaluable biographical material with which to flesh out the story.
“I dip into a bit of Irish history at the time as they travel around. As Arthur was an alumni of Trinity, they visit Trinity when in Dublin, the Book of Kells and the Long Room feature in teh book. I’m not sure if they went to the Botanic Gardens, but I couldn’t resist a visit.”
Charlotte’s happy marriage was to be cut short by her death from pregnancy complications the spring after her honeymoon.
Arthur cared for the Brontë patriarch, Patrick, after her passing - her three siblings had predeceased her - but returned to Offaly after Patrick’s death, when he didn’t get the Haworth Parsonage incumbency he had expected.
He married his cousin Mary-Anna - ‘she always had a romantic fondness for Arthur’, believes Pauline - and lived out his days as a small farmer in Banagher, even while the Brontës’ reputations grew in the years after their deaths.
“The sadness of it is that he’s not buried with Charlotte, he’s buried with Mary-Anna in the churchyard of St Paul’s in Banagher,” said Pauline.
The Portlaoise native describes her novel as ‘a real labour of love’. “In one sense, there’s a relief as well that I’ve done it and it’s out there now and I should really move on,” she said.
Pauline says the reception from friends and fans, particularly in Newbridge and Portlaoise, has been extremely supportive.
“I’m also getting some nice responses from people who are Brontë enthusiasts. One of the first reviews said that it is addressing a gap in their story which has never been fictionalised before, and barely documented.” (Laura Coates)
The Times reviews The Life of the Mind by Christine Smallwood.
(When Dorothy hears people singing Wuthering Heights at a karaoke night, “it sounded like feral cats being raped — in a fun way”.). (John Self)
The Concord Insider reviews Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia.
This book embodies the strongest gothic characteristics usually seen in works from the likes of Emily Brontë, Bram Stoker, and Shirley Jackson. Garcia Moreno gives a fresh take to the genre by imbuing the story with additional unsettling evils not rooted in the supernatural: racism, classism, and the ghosts of colonialism. 
The New York Times looks back on the birth of The New York Times Book Review in 1851 recalling the time when
The second half of the 19th century was filled with riches: [...]
Villette,” by Charlotte Brontë, was hailed as “a first class work.” (Tina Jordan)
The Telegraph and Argus reports that the Brontë Parsonage will look purple at night for a week for a good cause.
The Rotary Club of Haworth & Worth Valley has teamed up with Haworth Parish Church and the Brontë Parsonage Museum to throw a special light on Haworth during World Polio Day this Sunday.
The Rotarians have gained permission from their partners to bathe both the Church and the world-famous home of the Brontës in the campaign’s colour of purple during every evening for a week when their floodlights are switched on after World Polio Day.
When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year.
Great progress against the disease has been achieved since then. Today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 per cent, and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. And Rotarians worldwide remain committed to the end.
Ian Park, the Immediate Past President of the Rotary Club of Haworth & Worth Valley, said: “Up until July there were just two cases of wild poliovirus reported in the world, one each in Pakistan and Afghanistan which is amazing given the political situation in that part of the world.
“We want to play our part in raising awareness of the continuing campaign to eliminate this awful disease and we’re grateful to Haworth Church and the Parsonage Museum for their help.” (Mark Stanford)
The Carmen Mola affair in Spanish literature continues being discussed and the Brontës mentioned as writers who hid behind pseudonyms in newspapers such as Financial Times and El sol de México.

Finally, news from the Brontë Society fundraising campaign towards securing the Honresfeld collection:
12:30 am by M. in ,    No comments
A new bachelor thesis:
Palacký University Olomouc, Faculty of Arts, Department of English and American Studies, 2021

And Brontë scholars from Iraq:

Shaima Abdullah Jassim, Alaa Muzahim Abdulrazaq
English Department, College of Education for Humanities, Tikrit University, Iraq2 English Department, College of Education for women, Anbar University, Iraq
Journal of AlMaarif University College, Volume (32) Issue (1) 2021, p. 466

There are many theories that emerged in fields other than literature but influenced the literary works greatly. These theories are used by scholars and critics to analyses and study the literary text. Among these theories are  Sigmund  Freud’s psychoanalysis and the theory of interpretation of dreams. According to  Freud,  the human mind is divided into two parts:  the conscious and the subconscious. Freud used this theory to treat his patients by making them lie down and talk about their dreams, childhood, and other thoughts.    It is an attempt to make the unconscious conscious.  Additionally,  the unconscious can be revealed through the slips of the tongue  (paraphrases)  and dreams.  Moreover, Freud assumes that the human psyche consists of three parts:  Id  (a  store of the human desires and needs); superego (the part of the psyche which represents the high ideals); ego (the part which tries to make a compromise between the id and the superego). He also emphasizes the effect of our childhood upon our lives. The present study is a Freudian reading to Emily Brontë’s Wuthering  Heights with reference to the impact of the author’s life upon the flow of the events and the lives of the characters.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Thursday, October 21, 2021 7:37 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
The Telegraph reviews Wise Children's Wuthering Heights.
Picture: Steve Tanner
Recent productions with [Emma Rice's] newish theatre company, Wise Children, have prioritised dreamily romantic effect over actual drama, but there’s precious little whimsy about her racially charged Wuthering Heights. Instead, she unleashes the novel’s awful cruelty and fury in a full-throttle show while reta
ining Brontë’s cool-eyed clarity on a cast of monsters whose inherited cycles of toxic dysfunction leave Succession's Roy family looking like The Waltons.
Rice starts her show with a gag about the weather: as Sam Archer’s cut-glass accented Lockwood attempts to step outside Heathcliff’s windswept moorland home, he’s met by actors screaming Hammer-horror style in his face. Yet those hostile, ungovernable moors are also a character in their own right, replacing narrator Nelly Dean in the form of a Greek tragedy-style chorus. 
Against a backdrop of scudding clouds, the only props are a wooden door and that famous window. Poor Cathy might not ever be able to get back in, but this is much more a story about people unable to break free.
It also feels very modern. Rice foregrounds Heathcliff’s implied racial heritage in the novel by casting BAME actor Ash Hunter in the role, while Lucy McCormick’s pleasingly yobbish, untameable Cathy has been brutalised by the suffocating restraints of growing up a woman in 19th-century Yorkshire. Like a more unhinged Hedda Gabler, she’s hemmed in wherever she goes, yet, like Ibsen’s anti-heroine, it’s also clearly her own character that ruins her. Meanwhile Hunter manages to make the diabolical Heathcliff sympathetic without remotely glamourising him.
Rice’s directorial style tends less towards psychological naturalism than to a heightened, self-conscious theatricality. It’s a tricky mode to deploy in a story such as this but she treads a rewarding line between driving home the mind-wringing anguish and pointing up the melodrama. [...]
There are no new theatre tricks that Rice fans won’t have seen before, but it all works beautifully – the seamless integration of live music and song; the way Rice simply can’t resist turning the tiny note of optimism that ends the novel into a full-on celebration featuring flowers, tea and cake. Frankly, by the end of this, you’’ll be grateful for it. (Claire Allfree)
Black Girls Create reviews Lauren Blackwood's Within These Wicked Walls.
Don’t you just hate when the premise you’ve heard for a story doesn’t quite live up to the story that’s told? Well, I’m happy to report that this is solidly NOT the case for Lauren Blackwood’s debut novel, Within These Wicked Walls—a horror novel targeted towards the older end of the young adult audience. Billed as an Ethiopian-inspired fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre, this book lives up to the high bar set by its description. (Porshèa Patterson-Hurst)
Book Riot gives some tips on reading before having a baby.
Read that long biography or other difficult book you've been saving
I read The Brontës over a couple of weeks because I knew that I would not have the time or the energy for that much Brontë, or that much tuberculosis, once the baby came. I kept a rigorous reading schedule and treated it like a class I took every day. I had time for a lot more than I thought I did after the baby came, but this would not have been one of those things — and not because it wasn’t worth it, but because my brain was working differently in the early weeks. (Alex Luppens-Dale)
The Morning Call reviews the new film adaptation of Dune and mentions that Timothée Chalamet at times looks like a 'preoccupied Brontë hero'. Euronews lists several writers who had used pseudonyms, including the Brontës.
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The Gordon & Caird Jane Eyre musical is performed at the Czech Republic:
by Paul Gordon & John Caird
Translated and Directed by Petr Gazdík
Costumes by Eliška Ondráčková Lupačová
Dramaturgist by Klára Latzková
Stage by Petr Hloušek

Městské divadlo Brno
Lidická 1863/16, 602 00 Brno-střed, Czechia
October 22 - November 4

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 10:51 am by Cristina in , , , ,    No comments
The New York Times is somewhat (and perhaps rightly) shocked that UK theatres have been allowed to open without restrictions of any kind.
Unlike on Broadway, theatregoers in England are not required to wear masks in their seats or be fully vaccinated. Instead, it’s up to each venue to decide what they require. Most West End venues are asking for proof of vaccination or a negative test result at the door, but some smaller venues don’t. Spectators are also encouraged to wear masks, but many choose not to, even as the number of virus cases in Britain steadily grows.
How are theater fans feeling about this new normal? Has the pandemic changed what they’re seeing and how they’re seeing it?
We spoke to seven other theater enthusiasts to find out. These are edited extracts from those conversations. [...]
Jane Duffus, 43, author
Pre-COVID, I used to go to the theater all the time. But tomorrow is my first trip. I’m going to see “Wuthering Heights” at the Bristol Old Vic, and I specifically booked it as it’s socially distanced. We’re lucky where I live, a few theaters are still doing distanced performances.
I just haven’t been ready until now. I went to an event in August, and it really freaked me out: about 400 people, no distancing, and I was one of only about six people wearing a mask. A few days later, a friend texted me to say they had COVID. I didn’t feel remotely relaxed. Every time I heard a cough … It was a lot.
I picked “Wuthering Heights,” as I love Wise Children, the company doing it. If you’re going to put yourself through anxiety, it should be something you know you’ll enjoy. (Alex Marshall)
Tor reviews Lauren Blackwood's Within These Wicked Walls.
Within These Wicked Walls, Lauren Blackwood’s debut YA fantasy novel, is marketed as an Ethiopian-inspired imagining of Jane Eyre. The description fits, but I’d argue that it doesn’t do the book justice—there are elements of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, yes, but Within These Wicked Walls is its own story, one that has magic and heartache as well as romance. (Vanessa Armstrong)
Locus recommends it among other new releases.
Blackwood, Lauren: Within These Wicked Walls [...]
Young-adult dark fantasy novel, an Ethiopian-inspired retelling of Jane Eyre. An exorcist needing a patron takes a job with the difficult eccentric Magnus Rochester, who is under a horrifying curse.
Ein Presswire reviews Jacqueline Garcia’s romance mystery novel Decay of Sorrow.
Jacqueline Garcia’s Decay of Sorrow has the hallmarks of a gothic romance novel: a distressed heroine, Byronic male figure, secondary love interest and spectral visitationsin the main setting of the narrative. Far from an imitation of classics like Jane Eyre and Rebecca, Garcia’s picturesque, fluid writing style paired with her personal twists on the aforementioned themes raises her novel to a whole new level — worthy and relevant in today’s dating culture. (Dana Reyes)
Times of India lists 'Six memorable homes in literature' and one of them is
Mr. Rochester's Thornfield Hall
Thornfield Hall is a fictional location in the 1847 novel 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Brontë. It is the home of the male romantic lead, Edward Fairfax Rochester, where much of the action takes place. An isolated mansion of unspecified size, the house has a number of apparently unused rooms that become important to the narrative during the Bertha Mason episodes. Haddon Hall, an English country house on the River Wye near Bakewell, Derbyshire, has been used to depict Thornfield on several occasions.
Roger Ebert looks into the horror films of Val Lewton:
This also happened to Lewton, who was given titles—not actual scripts, mind you—like “Cat People” and told to make those titles into feature films. In “The Bad and the Beautiful” we see Shields and his director (Barry Sullivan) finding art in this cheap job they’d previously not cared about (it’s worth noting that, at least in my opinion, “Doom of the Cat Men” sounds like a much better film than any of the ones Shields is actually passionate about). But this is what Lewton, a Russian-Jewish émigré who began his career as a writer of relatively realistic novels, did constantly—in the case of “I Walked With a Zombie” (1943), Lewton, director Tourneur, and screenwriters Wray and Curt Siodmak chose to use that title to create a kind of Voodoo riff on “Jane Eyre. (Bill Ryan)
La nouvelle république (France) reports on its book club's return.
 L’une a fait part d’une redécouverte, Les Hauts de Hurlevent, d’Emily Brontë, un classique de la littérature anglaise du 19e siècle. « Un luxe de détails… On voit les personnages vivre dans des conditions tellement étroites. J’ai pris beaucoup de plaisir à le relire. » (Translation)
12:31 am by M. in ,    No comments
A Call for Papers announcement 
CFP: Open Cultural Studies – The Relevance of Anne Brontë
CALL FOR PAPERS for a topical issue of  Open Cultural Studies

“Open Cultural Studies” ( invites submissions for the topical issue The Relevance of Anne Brontë in the English-Speaking World and Elsewhere: Current Perspectives. edited by Juan de Dios Torralbo Caballero (University of Córdoba, Spain).

Anne Brontë’s work, two novels, and a handful of poems, constitute one of the vertices of the Victorian cultural and literary polyhedron, warranting study and reconsideration. 2020 marked 200 years since Anne Brontë’s birth in Thornton, Bradford, with this bicentennial prompting fresh examinations and inquiries into her legacy.
 This topical issue seeks to showcase novel perspectives on the work of Anne Brontë, with a special emphasis on various aspects of her literary and cultural prism. Firstly, it aims to delve into the cultural traces that her legacy left through interconnected reflections on the context of her life, her family’s creative and religious milieu, and even the work of her sisters. Secondly, it aims to study the presence and reception of Anne Brontë’s work in other countries, both through novels (influence, dialogue and intertextuality) and other creations, such as cinema.
This special issue aims to offer an original set of articles that delve into both the cultural and the literary  content, per se, of Anne Brontë’s body of work, investigating her legacy’s impact in other languages and cultures; that is, its translations, influences and, in short, its presence in other creative works. 
The topics on which proposals may be submitted are: 
 * Cultural presence in Anne Brontë’s work* Cultural tradition in Anne Brontë’s legacy* Receptions of Agnes Grey* Reception of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall* Reception of Anne Brontë’s poetry* The influence of Anne Brontë’s work* Translations of Anne Brontë’s works* Anne Brontë’s literary influence in Emily Brontë’s work* Anne Brontë’s literary influence in Charlotte Brontë’s work* Fresh perspectives on Victorian Culture in Anne Brontë’s work.
More details here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

What'sOnStage shares the first pictures of Wise Children's Wuthering Heights, which are well worth a look.

Kandaka Moore (Zillah), Ash Hunter (Heathcliff), Nandi Bhebhe (The Moor), Lucy McCormick (Cathy) and Witney White (Frances Earnshaw/Young Cathy)© Steve Tanner (Source)

Nerdist features Lauren Blackwood and her Jane Eyre retelling Within These Wicked Walls.
Jane Eyre is an influential yet unexpected entry into the gothic canon. Charlotte Brontë’s tale of a young orphaned girl hired by the enigmatic Mr. Rochester to care for a resident of the overbearing Thornfield Hall comes with dark drama and horrifying secrets. In her new take on the literary classic, Within These Wicked Walls, Lauren Blackwood leans into the horror of it all. She crafts a truly terrifying take on Brontë while bringing a unique voice all her own to the page-turning proceedings.
The story began to take shape after Blackwood watched Cary Joji Fukunaga’s 2011 Jane Eyre adaptation. “I’ve always loved the romantic tropes and the creepy atmosphere,” Blackwood told Nerdist. “I thought, why isn’t this house actually haunted? It has all the makings of a haunted house. And then there was an idea that I had separately. I love folklore and I’d discovered this lore of the Evil Eye in Ethiopia and somehow they just connected.”
Blackwood’s haunted house overflows with horrifying spirits and abhorrent creations. She pulled inspiration from within. She said, “I just thought of things that would scare me! If there could be a manifestation in each room of something that would freak me out, that would work.”
In the face of such supernatural power, you need a hero who can stand strong and hopefully at some point fall in love with the mysterious Rochester. That’s where Andromeda comes in. She’s a powerful, young exorcist Rochester hires to cleanse his house of the Evil Eye. “I knew she had to be a tough sort of person to survive this haunted house,” Blackwood explained. “So I gave her a backstory where she had to survive on being tough, not relying on affection or people to help her out, because she knew she had to handle this herself. But she’s also a little vulnerable and I think that helps to balance her out.” [...]
Brontë’s Rochester is one of literature’s most famous brooding leading men. But when she envisioned her Rochester, Blackwood had a plan. “I definitely wanted to make him a little more sympathetic,” Blackwood said. “And definitely more shippable! So that people won’t be like, ‘Ugh why does she like him?”
That began with crafting a far more sympathetic backstory for Magnus. She told us, “He’s a brat. But he’s grown up in such a way that he believes his father abandoned him. And his mother died when he was a baby. So he feels sort of this abandonment. Then he ends up being cursed and trapped in this castle, and he literally can’t look at anyone. And so all of that builds up and he kind of uses his entitlement as a defense mechanism. He’s very awful with people. So Andromeda is really the first time he gets to really truly interact with a person. Suddenly he’s like, ‘Oh I really didn’t know how to do this, but now I really want to know how to.'”
The relationship between Rochester and Andromeda sits at the heart of Within These Wicked Walls. It’s also Blackwood’s passion. Blackwood worked to bring the horror elements and the romance together. “The romance is my favorite part,” she gushed. “So, getting that balance was really about adding the scary because romance comes a little more naturally to me. And they’re in a haunted house, they’re under pressure, and they’re stuck together. In the same way she has to survive on the street, she has to survive in this haunted house, and she has to lean on Magnus. Both of them have learned very well throughout their life to sort of attach to good things and make the most of horrible situations.” (Rosie Knight)
Yesterday's New York Times' crossword puzzle by Ross Trudeau was in honour of the Brontë sisters.
This puzzle honors three writers (described in the revealer at 28D as the “literary trio found in the answers to this puzzle’s starred clues”). The first is found at 19A, which is clued with a literary reference of its own: “Children’s book whose title character says ‘If I can fool a bug, I can surely fool a man. People are not as smart as bugs.’” This title character is Charlotte of Charlotte's Web, who realizes that if she can fool a bug into being caught in her web, she could certainly fool a man into believing his pig is special. As an aside, I remember feeling pretty cranky as a child that the takeaway from a spider who writes things in her web was that the pig was the special one.
Unlike the first themer, the other two (and the revealer) are all Down entries. At 25D, we encounter the clue “Prominent left-leaning political action committee,” which is EMILY’S LIST. Astute solvers might recognize that CHARLOTTE and EMILY are the names of two famous writers who share a surname. The first name of one more writer, who also shares this surname, is found at 6D embedded in AUNTIE ANNE’S, whose pretzel kiosks were a staple of my misspent mall-rat youth. Returning to the revealer, we recognize that the literary trio embedded in the theme entries are THE BRONTËS: CHARLOTTE, EMILY and ANNE.
I appreciate the “tightness” of this theme. A tight theme is one that is defined narrowly enough that the connection between the theme entries and the revealer is crisp, and there are very few, if any, other entries that could have been included here but were not. For this theme, there were truly only three Brontë sisters who could have been included, and, beyond that, all three theme entries include possessive forms of the names. Neat!
Now that a Spanish woman writer has been revealed to be actually three men, the Spanish press is all about writers using pseudonyms, like the Brontës: La Vanguardia, Cope, El nacional, Público, Tribuna Salamanca, etc. Although Elle (Spain) seems a little confused:
En el siglo XIX era habitual que las mujeres artistas se ocultaran bajo seudónimos masculinos porque si no sus trabajos eran rechazados: Currer Bell era Emily Brontë, Ellis Bell fue Charlotte Brontë y A.M Bernard resultó ser Louisa May Alcott. (Begoña Alonso) (Translation)
Still, in Spain, yesterday was Women Writers' Day and Aragón Digital had an article about it:
«Todos podemos pensar en Emily Brontë, en María Zambrano, en Emilia Pardo Bazán, en Mary Shelley, en Jane Austen. Mujeres que triunfaron e hicieron auténticas obras maestras en la literatura. Y es que la literatura es el primer arte que se considera feminista», ha asegurado José Antonio Mayoral. (Cristina Morte Landa) (Translation)
Il Giornale (Italy) reviews Jay Kristoff's Empire of the Vampire book.
Non mancano nemmeno omaggi all'età romantica della letteratura inglese: in particolare c'è una scena che sembra uscita dalle pagine di Cime tempestose, il capolavoro di Emily Brontë. Questo fa sì che l'esperienza di lettura sia molto spesso disturbata da questi richiami fin troppo evidenti, che mettono in dubbio la credibilità del mondo inventato da Jay Kristoff, che spesso finisce con l'apparire come un'accozzaglia di elementi. (Erika Pomella) (Translation)
Emily Brontë's poem 'Fall, leaves, fall' is quoted by The Well and Surfer Today. Brussels Brontë Blog has a post on a recent talk on Education, independence and self-improvement by Dinah Birch, Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool.